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Anchor Old Foghorn | Anchor Brewing Company

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Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn
Very Good
1,999 Ratings
Anchor Old FoghornAnchor Old Foghorn

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Foghorn® is brewed based on historic English barleywine methods. It is highly hopped, fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast, carbonated by a natural process called "bunging" to produce champagne-like bubbles, and dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars. Made only from “first wort,” the rich first runnings of an all-malt mash, three mashes are required to produce just one barleywine brew.

ABV varies slightly over the years.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Ratings: 1,999 |  Reviews: 1,071
Photo of j37geogaddi
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one has a typical barleywine appearance; pours relatively flat and has a red tint to its brown color.

Smells of raisin and sweet caramel malt- really nice.

Very smooth cinnamon, caramel malt taste. No real hint of the 8.2 alcohol content, but it does taste like its meant to be drank slowly. The flavors are relativly complex and you can definitely detect the hop bitterness in the backround. It's incredibly tasty and one of the best examples of its style.

The beer has a thick enough mouthfeel to show off its flavors very well but its on the lighter side of barleywines. It's not too thick, yet by no means thin.

As many of these as I could probably throw back myself, because of its style, most people won't want to drink too many of them. That said, as barleywines go, it is as drinkeable as they get.

Again, I think Anchor pegged the style perfectly. As an English Barleywine, one of my favorite styles, you expect the sweetness and the fruit tones, but this has just the right balance of hops just to remind you it is still a beer, and a great one at that. Fritz Maytag of Anchor brewing is a known craft beer legend, and this beer is to me, their most under rated offering. My hats off to to them-

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a rich mahogany into a medium wine glass. Looks ruby-brownish when held to light. Its thin, 1-finger head dissipates quickly. A thin, sticky lacing clings to the glass as the beer goes down my gullet.

S: Caramel-toffee with a big, roasty malt aroma. Also some black currant, anise, and definitely some brown sugar and cinnamon hints. A very sweet, almost port-like aroma.

T: Sweet barley malarmey! Rich malt sweetness dominates this brew. A very liqueur- like quality with heavy brown sugar accents are present. Definitely a dessert-style sipper. Fruit flavors include raisin and fig. I would really appreciate a little more hop bitterness to balance out the huge malt presence, but the lack of hop flavor certainly doesn't ruin the taste. Just a little booziness is detectable near the end of a sip. Medium carbonation.

M: I really enjoy the feel of this beer. It is really creamy with a medium-heavy sweetness that coats the entire palate. Sticky-icky (in a good way).

D: The sweetness of it leads me to not give it a great rating... I really enjoyed about the first 2/3 of the brew, but the last 1/3 was just a little too sweet and sticky. One and done for me, thank you, and I'll probably enjoy another in a couple of months or so.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours into a tulip glass a deep brown with orange highlights. Big creamy off-white head leaves some serious lacing throughout the session.

Smells of grain and sweet hard candies. Notes of preserved fruits and slight alcoholic vapors.

Tastes very sweet and malty with just a bit of flowery hop bitterness. Very fruity. Big big malty sweetness and a delightful warmth brought on by the considerable (and deceitfully well-hidden) ABV.

Fairly thick mouthfeel, mitigated slightly by the aggressive carbonation. A little syrupy.

To me, the Old Foghorn is extremely tasty, but I find it to be a bit much. Not an example of what I consider "drinkable".

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Photo of rfabian
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large wine glass it produces a 10 mm head that leaves light lacing. The appearance is ruby amber and clear. The aroma is of sweet malt and fruity-earthy hops. The taste delicious, complex with sweet roasted malts, black currants, and perhaps some coriander. The feel is medium bodied with a clean finish and nice alcoholic warmth.

This is an excellent ale for sipping after a good meal.

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Photo of schoolcb
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant dark amber with ruby highlights and a tan head that stood up fairly well. Complex toasty malt notes, and earthy hops make up the bulk of the aroma. Big malt flavor, again toasty, with a sweet caramel like bite. Earthy hop flavors. A little bit of alcohol flavor is noted. Is well carbonated, the head persisted given the alcohol level. The sweet toasty malt profile carries well into the aftertaste but has enough hop bitterness to keep it from being sickly sweet.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Meantime tulip. GDP punched in the back of the label. No further info/date.

Thanks to Sweemzander for this bottle!

A - A hazy, muddy pond-water brown pours out with a low cream head. Poor retention left a lace ring and bubble halo.

S - Roasted amber malts with toasted bread and caramel on the nose right away. A little dry leaf earthiness pokes out with a mellow, warm alcohol nose. A modest spiciness finishes the aroma. Small floral and fruit notes later on.

T - While the malts are still strong with toasted bread and caramel, a slightly tart and spicy alcohol flavor takes the lead. Earthy undertones develop through the flavor of the beer and culminate at the dry finish.

M - It's a medium-full bodied barleywine with a little tart zest interlaced with a crisp carbonation kick. The dry spicy finish ends with a complex warming note.

D - This is a very nice sipping barleywine from Anchor. Depth and complexity give it a thought-provoking aura and it's one hell of a brew to sip while I work on design!

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, goblet, the enduring and silly Anchor bottling code on this bottle reads '9GJ' meaning 8/10/2009. This bottling says 9.4% abv, as opposed to BA's 8.8% above.

A ruddy, copper red with a yellow custard tinted head. The foam isn't long lasting. Very clear, not bottle conditioned.

Raspberry, sugary sweet, caramel malt is powerful on the nose. Flowery, berryish hops.

We carry on with a very raspberry inspired caramel malty sweetness. It isn't as if fruit were added to this beer but there is a decidedly open, fresh fruitiness rather than 'dark fruit' such as currants, raisins, or grapes. Following all the sweetness is buttery diacetyl on dry crackers. Almost tasting oats. Floral and slightly chalky light bitterness follows this. Finish drys and alcohol becomes apparent with great sweetness.

Even with a finish that drys more every sip its one of the first beers I've reviewed that I can place the adjective cloying on. The carbonation is at a nice clean level but the body is too heavy with caramel malts.

This may be a great beer to cellar or it may not be. If the caramel malts would assimilate with the fruitiness that would be a pleasant change. Losing the hops would unbalance it severely on the other hand. Too sweet, give me more English hops.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/25/2009. Been sitting in my cellar since about May.

Pours a copper amber color with ruby highlights around the edges. About 2 fingers of khaki head is produced, with decent retention but lacing is lacking.

The nose is very sweet and malty. Hops are definitely faded. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare this too, but I don't think that the fresh hop level of this matches that of other common barleywines such as Big Foot. Very sweet.

Tastes sweet again, but this time the hops come out just a little bit more. Floral and piney, with a light bitterness nearly swallowed up by the sweet malts. Actually more bitterness than I gave it credit for in the nose, the hops held up surprisingly well.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, with a rather high carbonation. A little heavier than I would have expected. Drinkability is ok, but a little too sweet for me.

Overall, a good barleywine, but not a great one. I have a sixer or two of this and will sit on it longer to see if the sweetness mellows out a little and allows the other qualities of the malts to come through. I think this has great potential, but for the price of nearly $3 a bottle I think I'll pass in the future.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle code says this was bottled in January 09

Pours a 2 finger cappuccino colored head. Body is a dark amber color with little light passing through. Head retention and lacing are average at best

Smell is of sweet syrupy malts and honey. Dont know why I get the smell of honey in alot of barleywines but I do. Hops are faint and so is alcohol.

Taste is of sweet syrupy malts and some diacetyls. There are also some floral hops in the background. Bitterness is surprisingly present for a year old bottle. Alcohol is tame for 9 percent

Mouthfeel is aggressively carbonated for this style. Body has a nice thick consistency but there is no head which would have been nice.

Overall good beer. Drinkability was good for a barleywine. Not the best barleywine I've had but a steal for 3 dollars a bottle. Will buy some more to age for acouple years

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Photo of spartanfan
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No freshness date, but I believe this is a rather fresh sample.

A: Pours a deep, clear ruby red color with a nice off white head that has faded to a ring around the surface of the beer.

S: A great sweet, fruity fresh aroma. Brown sugar and a healthy does of alcohol are in the forefront. A trailing hop bitterness is also apparent in the nose.

T: A very complex and very smooth flavor to this one. Caramel and butterscotch are present along with some flavors of dates. Some alcohol is noticeable, and it provides a warming sensation which is accompanied by a hoppy bitterness.

M: Very nice smooth mouthfeel with quite a bit of carbonation to it, which I am enjoying. This is a full bodied beer that is leaving a coating in my mouth.

D: While there is some alcohol is present in the nose and taste of this beer it does not detract from the drinkability.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Head seemed slightly too slippery to be clinging well, and just smell speckles stick. 1 finger creamy, light brown/tan head. Caramel in color. Nice thick, dense ring around rim the keeps entire time.

Huge malts, and caramel. I think this one smells great. A sweet malty caramel. Alcohol is there but not overpowering anything else in any way.

This has the usual good BW taste, with a nice hop bite. Lots of caramel and some hoppiness. Nice alcohol touch, without burn. Candied sugar sweetness, but its not syrupy. Fine tasting BW. I also taste some kind of mild fruitiness. Toothpaste? No.

The mouthfeel is only mildly syrupy and is good overall.

Give this one a try for sure. Im pleased with this one.

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Photo of fropones
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark reddish orange with half a finger of creme head that dissipates to a pile of bubbles.

S - A bit of citrusy hop aroma mixed in with some caramel malts. Some rum soaked pears as well.

T - Toffee and caramel up front with a bit of hops in the back. A nice sweetness laced throughout. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be, which is a good thing. A nice warming afterward. Some fruits in here too. Alcohol well hidden.

M - Nice full bodied, creamy

D - One of the first few barleywines I've had. I knew there was a reason I've been becoming more curious about barleywines as of late, and its because of treasures like this. Makes me think I may prefer the English style over the American style of barleywines.

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Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a clear dark copper with some tan head. It smelled like sweet caramel and rusty copper with some bready yeast and honey wheat and nutty malt. It tasted like copper and caramel and nutty malt, with some sweet raisin and bready yeast. It was oily with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was pretty tasty with nice body. It hid the alcohol well too, so it wasn't difficult to drink. It had surprisingly sharp hops to balance the very sweet malt, but aging this could turn this into a great malt bomb. Fresh, this is a nice drinkable barleywine, although not too exciting.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange, old copper, and is opaque with a modest off-white head. Little or no lace is deposited on the tulip glass, despite continuous carbonation throughout.

The aroma is dominated by fresh oranges with caramel, spruce and nutmeg. As it warms, pineapple comes into the fore.

This one opens with light bitterness and is surprisingly well balanced for a barleywine. It basically follows the nose, replacing orange with fresh figs. The finish is gentle and lingering, tilting from bitter to sweet and back again for a long while.

The alcohol is present on the palate, however, this medium-bodied beer with a slick texture and prickly carbonation is quite satisfying.

This is easily consumable and more suited to an afternoon or a meal than most barleywines and less suited for late night contemplation.

Time was a good friend to Old Foghorn. Three years of cellaring was definitely worth the wait as the character comes through and the sharpness has been mellowed out.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into a smaller lager glass, decent tan head and a nice hazy brown color at that in the body.

Smelled of sweet fruit, caramel, very light cherry or plum presence, dark fruit and a nice toasted sugar presence.

Tasted very similar to the smell. The only thing I did not expect was a slightly dry finish. At 8% abv though, this beer certainly held its weight and is deserving of a standby position in your fridge if you have not had this before. There is a slight alchohol presence - I have read that this does not age magnificently in the past, but have never had it. At 8% I assume that this on is ready to drink on spot - very similiar IMO to an Old Ale even though they are technically very close -

BW or Old Ale - you make the decision.... I say old ale on this one, but it is good in either category

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Photo of hosehead83
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a twelve ounce "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass
Deep amber in color with a big, two-inch, off-white head of foam
Aroma-Malt, and subtle fresh hops
Taste-Malty, fruity, with a faint, but noticeable, hop backbone that lends a nice balance to the overall flavor of this brew.
Very pleasant and tasty, and one of the easier drinking barleywines out there, in my humble opinion. Certainly worth a try!

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, it's been a long time! I have continued to seek out great beer and taste some of the best beers in the world but have not done a review since Sept...

12 oz. great looking bottle poured into an oversided wine glass (no snifter on hand for the tasting).

A- Light mahogany brown. The color of brown sugar and caramel. Nice little bubbly tan head floating on the top of the glass- sediement floating- carbonation quite evident.

S- Smell was very sugary sweet- caramel, chocolate, alcohol, cherry, dark fruit.

T- This was one of the more drinkable BW's I have ever tasted. Extremely sweet yet complex. The hop notes were very faint. Caramel, dulce de leche ice cream flavors, cherries, prunes. Alcohol was well hidden.

M- Chewy and slick.

D- Easy drinking BW (if one does exist- this is it). Classic brew!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date. *The bottles on the store's shelf were rather dusty*

(A)- Pours a cloudy reddish copper amber color that produced a decent off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Very fig-like with raisins. Hints of wonderful cherries & cranberries. Bits of vanilla & brown sugar. Has a rustic feel.

(T)- Rather fruity for a barleywine: some bits of cranberry, cherry, and grape within, but its subtle. Plenty of figs & raisins amongst a light vanilla/brown sugar sweetness. Malty for sure, but with an ample hop bitterness; finishes very dry.

(M)- Great carbonation level and balance. Not a ridiculously potent barleywine; more subtle and balanced. Great abv integration especially with a much lower abv level for the style.

(D)- One of the easier drinking barleywines I have ever had. Good flavor with an even better balance, smell, and feel. If you are looking for a more sessionable barleywine, seek this one out!

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Photo of biker30x
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint rather than a tulip or other appropriate glass. Honey brown with a thin head that vanished immediately. Smell of rasins, plum and alcohol. Mouthfeel is soft at first with a following of alcohol tang over a plesant carbonation. Taste is of plum, fig, rasins and Christmas fruitcake. A malty sweetness pulls it all together. A warm and satisfying finish of alcohol makes the day after the day after Christmas melt into a warm and glowing end. Very nice.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this brew at Spike's Pub in San Luis Obispo.

A: looked cloudy in the Duvel glass but that was mostly the condensation on the glass. When I wiped it away it was very clear and chesnut in color

S: it was sweet and rasin smelling. Little to no hop aroma.

T: the taste was a big surprise for me since the last time I had a barley wine I was not ready for the big flavor the style packs. This time around I truly enjoyed the full sweet alcohol flavors. There was so much going on and my still novice palate had a hard time separating the individual flavors. None the less, a very tasty brew.

M: this is definitely a bit syrupy compared to many beers but for the style it is appropriately viscous. There is light carbonation that lingers. I have been enjoying this glass for 30 minutes and the carbonation still pleasurably stings my tongue.

D: I have a feeling that this barleywine is quite drinkable for the style. At only a little above 8% ABV it is on the lighter side of the style but maybe it is a good barleywine to start with if you are new to the style. It was for me.

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Photo of beersabound
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been enjoying this six pack nicely dispersed over the holiday weekend. Some earthy hops emerge first, quickly followed by a bit of ripe banana, silky smooth caramel malts and some alcohol giggling in the background. It pours a rich brown hue with orange corners and a tight tan head. The flavor is well balanced with high hop bitterness and a citrus hop flavor but a sweet malt side wins out in this tug of war. The mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth and seductive. No rough edges on its way down. This makes for a very easy to drink barleywine. I tend to look over this one; but I will not anymore. It's not the most balls out with flavor barleywine but is definitely a very well crafted one.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A finger of darker tan head and an amazing amber color. Light lacing.

Smell: There is a slight alcoholic note and some toffee and darker kind of aroma. Some dark fruits hiding in the background and a bit of sweetness that rounds out the smell without making it smell sweet. If an aroma can be balanced, this one is.

Taste: Sweetness hits you immediatly followed a complexity of the dark fruits from the nose and toffee notes, but with a certain bready meatyness. The need is rather alcoholic with a nice warming sensation, but it works. There was a tiny bit of citrus in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: It was huge and chewy. The carbonation was perfect and this was a massivly great sipper.

Drinkability: There are few beers that I would like to have warm me around the Christmas season more so than this one. This beer comes at the tail end of a wonderful time with a six pack during a week that included over a foot of snow fall on a weekend trapping me inside. Definitely a sipper but really enjoyable.

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Photo of redsonja
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

good barley wine style from the u.s. dark color
sweet alcoholic taste you can taste the alchohol
one of the first u.s. brewers that was avalible in holland and still is one of the good us brewerys.
color: copper
noise: butterscotch/alc. sweet
taste: alc. sweet like serup
good beer for the winter that i like a lot

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Photo of drtth
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is clear, deep dark reddish brown color with a ½" light tan head that soon recedes to a small ring and a thin layer on the surface. Sipping leaves some foam sticking to the side of the glass and a pattern of speckled lacing.

Smell: The aroma contains sweet dark caramel, a touch of dark fruits (plums?), and some citric hops along with traces of alcohol in the background.

Taste: The flavor is brown sugar sweet and filled with dark caramel. In the background is some dark fruit (the plum) and providing a nice counterpoint to prevent the sweetness from getting out of hand there is both some citric flavor and hop bitterness. There is not much alcohol in evidence.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with prickly moderate carbonation. The finish is long and begins with the malty sweetness, then changes to some hop bitterness that trails off into dryness.

Drinkability: This one is dangerously drinkable and it would be easy to have too much in an evening. It goes down easily with each sip leaving you wanting another. I'll be glad to have another and will certainly seek this one out in the future.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looking forward to this one, I've been seeking it for a little while. Picked it up at New Beer for $2.90 for a 12 oz bottle. That bottle was poured into my Cape Anne pint glass.

Appearance: Very odd color for a beer. It's a reddish, creamy shade of brown that I'm tempted to call purple. Opaque. There's a fizzy 1 finger head that goes away quickly without much lacing to speak of.

Smell: A big whiff of warm alcohol. Beyond that, there's fruit that I think is plum, caramel, and a bit of vanilla. It's all quite appealing

Taste: Up front is a sweet mix of brown sugar and that plum flavor. A little bit of fruity hops, but not nearly as much as other American barleywines I've had recently.

The first few sips, the finish was an extremely pungent peppery flavor that was difficult to take. I was wondering if I'd even be able to finish the drink, but the taste became far more subdued as the beer warmed. In fact, all of the flavors became better and more blended as it warmed. So definitely don't drink this one straight out of the fridge.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick and chewy, with low carbonation. Compliments the flavors nicely.

Drinkability/Overall: Not the best barleywine I've had, but it's different and it gets the job done. Just let it warm before you tackle it. Trust me.

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Anchor Old Foghorn from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 1,999 ratings
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